The aptly named brown thrasher stirs up leaf litter for dinner and does impressions.
An Artful Second Act
Photographer Carolyn Whiteside turns wildlife shots into works of beauty.
Four 'sure thing' sites to watch hawks and other raptors.
Walk Across Texas
At 72, Dave Roberts' cross-country journey is hardly pedestrian
For several months, Dave Roberts traversed Texas and camped at state parks, beginning with Village Creek on the southeastern edge of the state. His travels took him on a zigzagged, park-studded path to the state's northeast and then to the southwest. His weaving itinerary would be impressive even if completed by car, but Roberts didn't drive — he traveled through Texas entirely on foot, carrying all he needed in a backpack.
Why do we protect natural places? A walk through Westcave Preserve provides the answer.
Tucked away in what used to be undeveloped southwestern Travis County, 30 miles west of central Austin on 76 acres in the path of suburban sprawl, there's a shady emerald grotto cooled by a fern-lined waterfall, the silence punctuated only by peaceful drips and the buzzy trills of rare songbirds.
Westcave Preserve, where the majesty of the Texas Hill Country is on full display, is celebrating its 40th birthday.
"I love to hear the 'oohs' and 'ahhs' of our visitors when they see the grotto for the first time," says volunteer tour guide Beverly Gordon, a Texas Master Naturalist. "Many leave with the comment that it is the most beautiful place, and they didn't even know it was here or that there were places like it. They want to return and bring others."
Searching for the Rainbow Flyer
Treasured male painted buntings sport riotous plumage.
"Almost every birder who comes to South Texas has painted buntings at the top of his or her list," says Tim Brush, ornithologist at University of Texas Rio Grande Valley in Edinburg and author of Nesting Birds of a Tropical Frontier: The Lower Rio Grande Valley of Texas. "That doesn't mean they're easy to find."
You can't get closer to the outdoors than sleeping in a hammock.